President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden called the owners of Club Q in Colorado Springs on Thanksgiving to express their condolences after an armed suspect opened fire and killed five people at the gay nightclub last weekend.
The Bidens spoke with Nic Grzecka and Matthew Haynes, the co-owners of the venue, which hosts drag queen bingo nights and Christmas dinners for the city’s LGBTQ+ community. A gunman opened fire there, killing five people and wounding 17 others before the suspect was subdued by patrons.
“They reiterated their community support and commitment to fighting back against hate and gun violence,” the White House said in a statement. “They also thanked Nic and Matthew for the incredible contributions they have made and will continue to make to Colorado Springs.”
Grzecka and Haynes on Wednesday denounced right-wing politicians for demonizing the gay community and attacking drag queens with baseless lies about “taking care” of children.
“Lying about our community and making it something they are not creates a different kind of hatred,” Grzecka told The The Singapore Time.
Authorities arrested a suspect, 22-year-old Anderson Lee Aldrich, who was ordered to be held without bail Wednesday as investigators consider murder and hate crimes. Officials have not said what prompted the attack.
Biden vowed this week to do “whatever” it takes to ban assault weapons during a dull session of Congress before Republicans take control of the House in January.
“I’m going to try to get rid of assault weapons,” Biden said, adding that he would “count the votes” to see how much support there is for such legislation.
The president also called this week Richard Fierro, an army veteran who had dealt with the suspect during the Club Q attack.